Health officials in the United Arab Emirates announced Wednesday that a Chinese vaccine provides 86% efficacy against COVID-19 infection.
Subsequently, the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention officially pushed for a registration of the Sinopharm vaccine following several health agencies’ analysis of late-stage trials in the country, officials said in a release on the state-run WAM news agency.
“The announcement is a significant vote of confidence by the UAE’s health authorities in the safety and efficacy of this vaccine,” the health ministry said.
The country approved the vaccine for emergency use in September for certain groups. It conducted a trial of the vaccine involving 31,000 volunteers from 125 nationalities in the UAE. The study reflected “no serious safety concerns,” according to the health ministry, but no detailed data from the study was publicly available.
It’s unclear, based on this latest development however, what the UAE’s next steps will be. There was no elaboration on the progression toward a potential nationwide deployment of the Sinopharm vaccine.
The Chinese state-owned company is still conducting late-stage clinical trials in 10 countries, including Egypt, Jordan, and Argentina.
Later this month, Morocco says it plans to implement an ambitious COVID-19 immunization program using the Sinopharm vaccine. The country is aiming to vaccinate 80% of adults, according to The Associated Press.
News of UAE’s approval of the vaccine comes just a day after the U.K. launched its own nationwide immunization program. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also said Tuesday that the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and its partner BioNTech presented “no specific safety concerns” to preclude an emergency use approval, paving the way for an expected green-light later this month.
The UAE said as of Tuesday there were 8,260 confirmed new COVID-19 cases in the country.